The Rutherford Wine Company is based in Napa but offers a range of wines from around California that go from stately reds at $75 down to basic table wines at $8. Prior reviews from this company include pairing cactus paddles with the Lander-Jenkins wine and the bargain Round HIll bottles.
We're going to be in the $15-25 range here with a few recent releases.
2010 Predator Old Vine Zinfandel
$22, 15% abv.
When this wine first arrived, I just saw the dark black label and the name "Predator" and thought it was a bit sinister. Weeks later I saw the ladybug logo and loved it. If you ever get a good magnifying glass and watch ladybugs eat aphids in your garden, you'll have a newfound respect for them. It's like watching a grizzly bear eat salmon but right in your own backyard. This wine has loads of dark berries, a big fruity jam profile, and just a touch of sweetness. Would be interesting with roast pork that didn't have any sort of a sweet glaze to it.
The Lander-Jenkins wines are made from sustainably grown grapes.
2010 Lander-Jenkins Spirit Hawk Chardonnay
95% Chardonnay, 5% Muscat Canelli
$15, 13.5% abv.
Mild dried apricot and ripe peach aromas. Tangy but with a round mouthfeel. It's about 1/3 oaked, so you don't really get much of an oak presence. There's a touch of chalk and minerals on the finish. Would be great with lightly smoked chicken, also not a bad choice for Thanksgiving this year. Not too acidic, not oaky, should be a crowd pleaser.
2009 Lander-Jenkins Spirit Hawk Cabernet Sauvignon
96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Merlot, 1% Syrah, 1% Zinfandel, 1% Petite Syrah
$15, 13.5% abv.
Big overripe blackberries and a touch of smoke. Strong black cherry flavor and a dash of plum. Medium tannins and a tart berry flavor. I found it unbalanced on the first day but smoother and mellower on the second day. Serve with grilled red meat where it will stand up and fight back.
Note: These wines were received as samples.